Wednesday, June 24, 2009

She's Got A Ticket To Write


Phil McGeehan, the assistant program director at 1370 WSPD, and a damn fine musician, has written a parody tune based on the original effort by the Beatles. We are trying to figure out a way in which to create a link to it and if that happens, I will put up a new posting (or at least an update).      

It is disturbing for me to note this week that political stagecraft, posturing, and sheer gall are not restricted to male politicians in Toledo and Lucas County. For just when I had completed my initial work into a serious academic comparative study of politicians, lunacy, and grandstanding; along comes Sue Frederick to ruin years, OK months, alright days ... OK, a couple of hours of serious scientific research.

Now for those of you who have not heard the story (and there might be a few of you outside of the Toledo / Northwest Ohio area), Sue Frederick is the "Acting" Commissioner of Streets, Bridges and Harbors in Toledo. Without getting too technical on this, the title means that she is responsible for the repair of streets and bridges, leaf collection, and snow removal (The City of Toledo website describing her position says nothing about harbors, in spite of the title and the fact that we have harbors serving the Great Lakes. Go figure.) Sue is the "acting" commissioner because the position requires that one filling it needs to be a certified engineer in the State of Ohio, which Ms Frederick is not.

In addition the responsibilities of her office as "Acting" Commissioner, under the Toledo Municipal code, she also has some special powers and carries a badge. Like the Mayor, members of City Council, and a few other select members of city government, she has been granted "special police powers". These powers meant to be used in emergency situations in order to be of assistance to the police and / or the city. Ms. Frederick however, has evidently decided that what they in fact mean is that "there's a new sheriff in town".

According to information released by the city, upon receiving a complaint of a parking violation, our stalwart commissioner "responded". Of course before she responded to an alleged offense, she found time to create a parking ticket form, in which she cited the wrong section of the Municipal Code and left a number of misspellings to her effort. While responding to the original offense, Ms. Frederick was informed that additional offenders were nearby, and not one to overlook an opportunity, she cited them as well. These parking violations, by the way, were for residents parking on gravel driveways or pads on their own property. 

Of course it should be noted that these parking tickets are not your everyday parking ticket, a charge that can be appealed in municipal court, but a special version which must be adjudicated by a special hearing officer. Unfortunately, no such hearing office exists in Toledo to review these citations (probably making them invalid), but Ms. Frederick has promised continued enforcement none the less, which will leave residents the option to either pay the ticket or have it sent to a collection agency.
So just to recap here:

We have an "Acting" Commissioner who is not qualified to actually hold the position that she does exercising special powers which she may not be qualified to hold as an "Acting" Commissioner. In exercising this power which she may not actually have, she 'created' her own flawed ticket form, then drove out to residences in Toledo to write tickets to people parking on their own property improperly citing the appropriate Municipal code. Add to this that the code, even if properly cited, did not have the required review process or personnel in place, and that the City Law Director has already stated that the tickets are probably unenforceable.

Called before a hearing at City Council on Monday, our intrepid Commissioner was both belligerent and unrepentant, and challenged a member of Council for interfering with her in performance of her self-assigned duties. A further (and later) response from the city stated that the original tickets, carrying a fine of $25, will be replaced with new ones carrying a fine of $75. (This may be a serious attempt by the city to make up it's $12.5 million deficit, in which case they better get writing.) 

Only in Toledo, can such a thing contemplated without the tearing of hair and clothing, and gnashing of teeth. My response instead however, with ADD and warped sense of humor in full bloom, is to recall (and paraphrase) the lyrics from an old Beatles tune: 

"She's gotta ticket to write. She's gotta ticket to write... ite ... ite. She got a ticket to write, and she don't care."


Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Obviously Ms. Frederick (don't want to get her confused with that other Sue ((Stainbrook)) ) suffers from delusions of adequacy, which our "beloved" mayor seems to be just fine with.

Yet she creates (without authority) tickets riddled with misteaks and, because she has a stinkin badge, thinks that she is the law.

I see the makings of a comic book here, but I doubt that it would sell, because who would believe stuff like this really happens...

Tim Higgins said...


I know what you are saying here. This is a Fairy Tale that I never would have had the stones to write.

Winky Twinky said...

Well, it's for damn sure I wouldn't care about that ticket to write.... if it didn't affect EVERYone living in Toledo!!! Please do not get me started...I already had quite a passionate hatred for those ticket writers who I think have no *real* authority, and who deserve (in their summer short khakis and tees) to just get plowed over by every available vehicle just because they fuckin suck (special kinda road kill).....BELIEVE me, it takes an enormous amount of restraint to NOT run every one of those ignorant assholes over every time I see them........

ANYWAY... Ms Frederick is a robot cronie of this obviously handicapped (if not politically bought or maybe just intellectually retardd) idiot!!! And there you have it........ Again I ask the question: How stupid are they... thinking they are safe from being run down while their arrogant asses run around with their telltale ticketing equipment through the downtown area... But all that aside...WHO EVER thought some "cronie" would be able to ticket some poor guy for doing what they've been doing for 40+ years... it's truly UNbelievable... She deserves being voted dumbass of the week... or whatever that distinguished award was... I'd love to see her voted completely out of office next time she's up....

Tim Higgins said...


That's why you are a gooddenss. write what you will, it will be printed here...

Roland Hansen said...

This incident reminds me of a phrase I first heard in my Sociology of the Law college class:
"The law is not always just; and, what is just is not always in the law."

While I am also aghast at the ticketing issue as reported, quite frankly, I do not necessarily agree with the finger pointing and faulting of the city administration, whether that be Sue Frederick or Carty Finkbeiner or whomever.

The Toledo city administration did not create the situation for which it is being faulted. The situation was created by Toledo City Council when it enacted the legislation regarding this issue in question of vehicle parking on gravel and that also includes the authority given by Toledo City Council to the Commissioner of Streets, Bridges and Harbors.

If people think that the administration should knowingly not enforce this law that is on the books due to the legislative action of Toledo City Council and that the Toledo city administration should abrogate its mandated legitimate authority in administering and enforcing the legislative acts as legitimately enacted by our elected Toledo City Council, then I have a question or two or three.

What other laws, rules, or regulations do you want to be ignored and unenforced? If you believe that laws, rules, and regulations should be allowed flexibility and discretion in the enforcement thereof, how do you assure fairness to all? Why enact legislation if it is not to be implemented?

Toledo City Council as the appropriate legislative body has within its legitimate authority to address and resolve this specific incident and also address and resolve the entire issue by passing legislation to modify the existing law.

It just seems to me that people are "killing the messenger" when it is the message (the legislation) that should be killed.

Tim Higgins said...


While I would agree that the City Council needs to accept responsibility for passing a bad law, that does not excuse Sue Frederick for her Keystone Kops version of justice. There is even a question of whether she should be able to use her special police powers as an "acting" administrator who is not qualified to hold the position.

If this was an issue, why was it not brought before Council? If it was a significant problem for years, why were the police doing nothing? Why is an acting commissioner who is not qualified to hold the position permanently allowed to hold the job so long.

I agree that we cannot selectively enforce laws. I would add that neither can we turn loose every vigilante administrator to create her own tickets and attempt to bring justice to the land.

Bringing justice is the exclusive province of "The Three Amigos"!


Judy said...

FYI, Ms. Frederick is NOT an elected official!

Tim Higgins said...


You are exactly right, and we can take some solace in the fact that we did not put this person in a position of authority.

On the other hand, if this position were an elected one, undoubtedly Ms. Frederick would have been unable to run for it since she does not hold the proper qualifications.